Decking Materials: Wood Decking

Get great info on wood decking and explore the different species of wood you may want to consider for your deck project.

A still life of lumber and tool belt materials used for building a wood deck.

Wood Deck Materials

A still life of lumber and tool belt materials used for building a wood deck.

Photo by: Comstock

Comstock

By: Sean McEvoy

You've already made a major decision regarding your deck if you're moving forward with wood decking. Now it's time to narrow the possibilities and sort out which species of wood is right for your deck project.

The most common wood decking material is pressure-treated or "PT" lumber. This inexpensive, widely available deck material can easily make for a sturdy, attractive structure, but be warned—it's highly susceptible to warping, cracking and splitting, and it must be diligently maintained and treated for weather resistance.

Cedar is also a popular choice as a wood decking material. It's very durable, but it's considerably more expensive than standard PT lumber.

Another popular choice for wood decking is mahogany. It's similar to cedar in durability, but many people prefer its rich color. It's generally slightly more expensive than cedar as well.

If you're looking for a slightly more unique deck design, cypress may be the way to go. This wood grows in a way that ensures that the patterns on each board will be different, guaranteeing a nice visual diversity on your deck.

If you're willing to pay a bit more, Redwood can be a great choice. It's highly resistant to decay, has a great natural hue, and is fairly durable and strong.

Finally, exotic or tropical woods can be a great choice if you're willing to spend a little more on your deck project. These woods tend to have a truly unique appearance, and they're extremely strong and durable. Some examples include bamboo, meranti, and Ipe (pronounced ee-pay), a Brazilian hardwood that comes in a dark chocolate color. Keep in mind that although all of these woods can provide durability and great visual appeal, they are more expensive and in some cases harder to work with than more commonly available domestic woods.

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